24 January 2007

Dear Marion

We have shown Marion Post Wolcott's FSA work here more than once. Most recently, this post by Ulf. Which got me thinking about Wolcott's work, and my own efforts to try and convey the life of a place not my own.

For me, the Mississippi Delta is a haunted, barren wasteland. It is, like so many of the subjects I love, cast off, worn out, done with. And yet it is a beautiful place -- one of the most beautiful and moving places I've ever seen --

As I sifted through images to try to find a fitting tribute to Wolcott's Delta work, I had many conversations with her in my head. What it is to be a Northern woman traveling in the American South, then and now; what it is to try to photograph tragedy and shame so tightly woven with dignity and faith that the air itself seems soaked with it.

Dear Marion, whose feet, whose hands, gone now? So easy to show what's there -- but how to show what isn't?

all images © Jeanne Wells


F said...

What a wonderful post Jeanne!
And how very elegant you show the abandoness here...and the bright sunlight that gives these that hot dry southern character.

Lovley work and text!


ulf said...

Dear Jeanne ( and dear Marion)
Such beautiful words and pictures
I had not heard of Marion until you mentioned her, but now it seems I meet her everywhere browsing FSA or NYPL or whatever archive with photographs
There is much to discover about this woman I am sure
and I hope to find some more to post here
Many thanks Jeanne
I loved your post

marcin said...


Espen said...

This touches me, Jeanne. Also, the proccess you talk about, with making these photos, it very impressive what you have done here, showing so much through "objects" and small scenes, and you've allways told so much more in your work than just about what is there. Great work.

jeanne said...

Thanks so much Espen, for the vote of confidence! And to the rest of you, my gratitude. I don't often show more documentary or journalistic type photos, because I don't have a lot of confidence in their ability to speak to others.

So this helps me very much!